By Alyce Collins
THIS NURSE is calling on more people to sign up to donate their organs after she endured liver failure for FOUR YEARS before her life was saved by an anonymous donor.
Staff nurse Olivia Price (27) from Wolverhampton, UK, was just 10-weeks-old when she was diagnosed with a liver disease, requiring an operation almost immediately. This early operation seemed to resolve Olivia’s condition until the age of 24, when her liver began to fail.
At only 10-weeks-old, doctors diagnosed Olivia with Biliary Atresia, a disease which meant that she was born without a bile duct to drain from the liver.
Following surgery, Olivia was then able to lead a relatively normal life, until 2014 when her liver started to fail. For over four years, she suffered with liver failure after she was placed on and off the transplant list, unable to improve her state of health for good.
After waiting for such a long time, Olivia finally received the call to say she had a liver transplant ready in March 2018. On March 9, Olivia underwent the 10-hour transplant surgery and since that day she has seen her health improve constantly and she’s already able to do more than she could before.
“As a baby, my mum recognised that I’d become jaundiced, which can happen in newborns but it usually resolves itself after two weeks,” said Olivia.
“I remained yellow for longer than two weeks, so my parents became increasingly concerned. I had a blood test at the GP and was then referred to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital after my Liver Function Tests came back abnormal.
“At 10 weeks old I was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia and scarring on my liver, so I had to have a Kasai operation at 10-and-a-half weeks old to create a bile duct which would temporarily stabilise me and stop my liver from scarring any further.
“I was in the hospital for a total of three weeks for that operation, which was a success and it kept me going until my liver started to show signs of failure in 2014.
“I always knew I’d need a liver transplant for as long as I can remember. My condition developed from birth so I had an operation to create a bile duct but that was only a temporary fix until my liver couldn’t cope any longer.
“I started having black stools due to oesophageal bleeding, and then developed ascites. Soon after I developed ascites, it became infected.
“My liver failure affected me mentally, physically and even impacted my career. I struggled to get through the day without having to have a nap or two.
“I wasn’t able to work full time as I got increasingly more exhausted and I didn’t go out much or socialise because all I wanted to do was rest.
“I was advised not to travel whilst being on the list, just in case a liver came in for me.”
Olivia’s health fluctuated over the next four years, meaning that every time she showed signs of improvement, she was taken off the transplant list.
The condition that Olivia developed, ascites, is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal region, caused by liver disease.
However, since receiving her transplant, Olivia has seen her life return to normal after facing a lengthy recovery process, and she’s even allowed to go on holiday abroad now which she hadn’t been able to do for the last four years.
“It’s been hard but so worth it. Within a few weeks of my transplant, I was already able to do more than I had done for a while,” said Olivia.
“I didn’t need as much rest and I was able to get through the day without having to stop and take a break.
“I was back to work after four months and I can now look forward to the future, whereas before my life was just on hold and I didn’t consider the future a lot.
“I’m mentally and physically better now. I can now actually go on holiday and focus on my career, do exercise and live a normal life.
“Depending how my liver gets on, I shouldn’t need any further surgery. If I experience any serious complications, then I may need to have another transplant or require surgery to solve any issues.
“If you’re considering being a donor, just go for it.
“Imagine how many lives you could save. Talk to your family about it as well and definitely let them know your wishes.”
Olivia has blogged her experience with needing a transplant at oliviasliver.co.uk to educate other people about her journey and in the hopes of inspiring more people to become organ donors.
You can also visit Olivia’s Instagram, @oliviaamyprice